Finding and choosing a California DUI lawyer in a drunk driving case can be a difficult process; there are many incompetent, inexperienced and/or unethical attorneys who will readily accept DUI clients. However, asking the following questions can be helpful in retaining a good DUI defense attorney:
DUI defense is a technical and highly specialized field: Does the lawyer handle DUI cases only -- or does he accept other types of criminal or civil cases as well? (This would be like a family doctor attempting brain surgery, cancer research and heart transplants.) What percentage of the attorney's caseload consists of DUI Cases?
Access to Expert Witnesses
Does the lawyer have access to technical expert witnesses in police procedures and blood/breath analysis? Will blood samples be reanalyzed by a lab? Will breathalyzer and maintenance records be obtained?
Law School and Organizations
Did the lawyer attend a reputable law school? Is he a member of the National College for DUI Defense? Is he Board-certified by that organization?
Does the attorney make promises as to the results he can get in the case? This is something no ethical attorney would do, as specific results are unpredictable.
Are fees fully explained and set forth in a written contract? Is the fee simply an initial retainer, or is it all inclusive? Do the fees cover such "extras" as the DMV license hearing, expert testimony, blood reanalysis, trial, subpoena costs, etc.?
Have there been any State Bar complaints against the attorney?
Additional resources provided by the author
For additional information concerning California DUI laws and lawyers, including specific recommendations in California, see: